Nord Stream pipelines supplying gas from Russia suffers major damage

Nord Stream pipelines supplying gas from Russia suffers major damage

Nord Stream pipelines supplying gas from Russia suffer ‘unprecedented’ damage and start leaking in Baltic sea causing ‘danger to shipping’ amid suspicions of ‘targeted attack’

  • Three leaks were reported in Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines near Danish island
  • Pipelines are leaking natural gas into the Baltic sea, prompting fears of sabotage
  • German governmental source said the leaks likely came from a ‘targeted attack’ 
  • Danish energy agency meanwhile warned such leaks ‘happen extremely rarely’ 
  • Leaks further hinder efforts to restart either pipeline for commercial operations and represent an escalation in the energy war between Europe and Russia

The Nord Stream pipeline which supplies Russian gas throughout Europe has suffered ‘unprecedented’ damage and is now leaking into the Baltic Sea near Sweden and Denmark, sparking concerns over foul play.

Sweden’s Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline last night, shortly after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered that prompted Denmark to restrict shipping in the area.

Both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between Europe and Moscow amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that has pummelled major Western economies and sent gas prices soaring.

The incidents will hinder any effort to start or restart either pipeline for commercial operations, and triggered an investigation with Swedish and Danish energy agencies.

German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that a German government source believes the damage came as the result of a planned attack.

‘We can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack,’ the source said. ‘Everything speaks against a coincidence.’

The head of Denmark’s energy agency meanwhile warned such leaks ‘happen extremely rarely’, lending further credence to speculations of sabotage given that three separate leaks sprung up across two different pipelines. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this morning told reporters ‘no option can be ruled out right now’ regarding the damage.

Sweden’s Maritime Authority issued a warning about two leaks in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline (pictured) last night, shortly after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 pipeline was discovered that prompted Denmark to restrict shipping in the area

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline (pictured under construction) had been completed this year, but had not entered commercial operations. Germany then scrapped plans for the pipeline days before Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February

Denmark’s energy minister Dan Jorgensen said this morning: ‘Yesterday, a leak was detected on one of the two gas pipelines between Russia and Denmark – Nord Stream 2. The pipeline is not in operation, but contains natural gas, which is now leaking.

‘Authorities have now been informed that there have been 2 more leaks on Nord Stream 1, which is also not in operation but contains gas,’ he added.

The leaks were located northeast of the Danish island Bornholm, a Swedish Maritime authority spokesperson said. 

Gazprom – the Russian gas giant who owns the majority stake in Nord Stream AG which owns and operates the pipelines – declined to comment. 

Nord Stream AG however released a statement warning that the pipelines had suffered ‘unprecedented damage’ in one day.

Nord Stream 1 has not been supplying gas to Europe since late August after Moscow announced the pipeline would be closed for three days for maintenance.

The pipeline was never opened again after the G7 group of advanced economic nations in early September agreed an price cap on Russian oil and moved to bar insurance for tankers or shipping companies helping Moscow to sell supplies above the cap.

European politicians say Moscow’s decision to close the pipeline was simply a pretext to slash supply and hasten a European energy crisis.

The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed earlier this year but had not entered commercial operations. 

The plan to supply gas via the pipeline was scrapped by Germany days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February.

Danish authorities have asked that the country’s level of preparedness for the power and gas sector be raised after the leaks.

‘Breaches of gas pipelines happen extremely rarely… We want to ensure thorough monitoring of Denmark’s critical infrastructure in order to strengthen security of supply in the future,’ said the head of the Danish energy agency, Kristoffer Bottzauw.

Nord Stream 1 facilities to receive and distribute natural gas from Russia to Germany and throughout Europe are pictured here in Lubmin, northeastern Germany, in August

Putin has kept the Nord Stream 1 pipeline closed since August after the G7 group of advanced economic nations in early September agreed an price cap on Russian oil and moved to bar insurance for tankers or shipping companies helping Moscow to sell supplies above the cap

The raised level would mean that companies in the power and gas sector have to implement measures to increase safety at for example plants, buildings and installations.

Ships can lose buoyancy if they enter the area affected by the leaks, and there may be a risk of an ignition over the water and in the air, the Danish energy agency warned.

It said the gas leak would only affect the environment locally, which means that only the area where the gas plume in the water column is located would be affected.

‘We are keeping extra watch to make sure no ship comes too close to the site,’ an SMA spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a new subsea pipeline delivering Norwegian gas to Poland and neighbouring countries with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic metres per day, is due to be inaugurated later today. 

The Baltic Pipe is seen as a key element in the diversification away from Russian energy sources for Poland and other European and Nordic nations, and was completed ahead of schedule in light of the impending energy crisis. 

MailOnline has contacted the Baltic Pipe Project for comment.  

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